Ever since I learned about the Cigar Box Guitar Museum (inside of Speal’s Tavern) in New Alexandria, Pennsylvania, I’ve wanted to visit and see this unique collection of instruments. Last month, I haphazardly noticed Shane Speal and the Snakes were playing there on 11/10 and decided it was time to cross this item off my proverbial bucket list. Here's a recap of my adventure...

After boarding a 737 outbound from Dallas' Love Field, I arrived at Pittsburgh International Airport on Saturday afternoon and rented a car. Then I headed East across the autumn-colored Pennsylvania countryside towards New Alexandria. Despite one wrong turn near Monroeville, the drive went pretty smooth.I parked in front of Speal’s Tavern a few minutes after 5 PM and wandered inside. The exterior is a bit unassuming, looking more like a house than a museum. However, the big blue letters that spell out SPEALS TAVERN let you know you’re in the right place. Once inside it’s hard not to notice all the homemade instruments on the walls.As luck would have it, Shane Speal was there and he was giving patrons a guided tour of the museum, including several of the latest additions. Shane took us through all the exhibits on the walls and invited everyone to get up close and notice the details. His knowledge of each and every instrument was astounding. Each CBG has a unique story.After taking a quick walk through CBG history, I grabbed a spot at the bar and ordered a Yuengling. I just so happens I sat between CBN member Lou LaManna and Pennsylvania Musician journalist Jim Price. Thanks for all the good conversation fellas!Around 6 PM, I ordered a Spealburger off the cigar box menu (a very clever touch), as Shane made rounds and talked to everyone. When I told him I made the trek from Dallas, his mouth gaped for a minute. Then he anxiously agreed to sign my copies of Building Poor Man’s Guitars and Songs Inside the Box. I’ll treasure these for years to come.Around 7:00 PM, the other band members showed up and started sound check. Dar, the bartender, kept the Yuenglings flowing as I prepared myself to finally see Shane Speal and the Snakes live. Around 8 PM, the band began their first set. Wow, these fellas put on a heck of a show!Farmer Jon was playing the legendary Soul Bucket and boy was he kicking out the grooves. Watching Rick thump that cajon made my hands hurt. He’s amazing… and Shane absolutely owns the stage. They are great entertainers for sure! The Snakes played for 3 hours doing a number of original songs as well as cover tunes from Prince, Depeche Mode, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Robert Johnson, and several others. What a night!Well... it may have taken a 3 hour flight, a rental car, and an overnight stay in a shoddy hotel room to cross this item off my bucket list, but the trip was well worth it! I was able to explore the museum, learn some random facts, meet Shane, hear The Snakes play, have some CBG-minded conversation, and get some cool souvenirs all in one night. This was definitely a trip to remember. Thanks to everyone who helped make the night special.

Check out the full album of pics here: https://cigarboxnation.com/photo/albums/new-alexandria-trip-11-18

Watch The Snakes do their rendition of The Star Spangled Banner here: https://cigarboxnation.com/video/shane-speal-the-snakes-play-the-st...

Views: 999


You need to be a member of Cigar Box Nation to add comments!

Join Cigar Box Nation

Comment by Jim Morris on November 15, 2018 at 8:48am

Great story and pics! Good to see you there at Speal's. Wish I could have stayed for the concert but the 8 year old grandson was worn out.

Comment by Shane Speal shanespeal.com on November 14, 2018 at 9:39am

What a fantastic report!  Thank you so much for joining us.  

Comment by BrianQ. on November 12, 2018 at 8:12pm

Glad you took pics, west coaster like me can only hope, someday?Cheers

The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation? How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building BasicsCigar Box Guitar Parts Store

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources


Yeah, OK,...

Started by James Pobog in Other stuff - off topic, fun stuff, whatever. Last reply by Paul Craig 8 hours ago. 2 Replies

Shovel guitar and sizes

Started by Laurence Owen in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Laurence Owen 10 hours ago. 5 Replies

Build #2

Started by James Pobog in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Poorness Studios 17 hours ago. 3 Replies

PDF DOWNLOAD: How to Build a Hurdy Gurdy

Started by Shane Speal shanespeal.com in Feature Articles. Last reply by Philip Taylor on Thursday. 8 Replies

Pitch Pine

Started by Laurence Owen in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Laurence Owen on Thursday. 4 Replies

Blog Posts


Posted by Emer M. on September 16, 2019 at 11:59am 0 Comments

Mama Pearson's Soaporium

Posted by Rick Tish on September 14, 2019 at 8:52pm 0 Comments

Fresh Diddley Bow- "Why Not?"

Posted by Glenn Kaiser on September 13, 2019 at 10:23pm 1 Comment

Good weekend selling

Posted by Rick Tish on September 11, 2019 at 10:13pm 1 Comment

Cigar Box Guitar Music - Old time Blues

Posted by John on September 9, 2019 at 6:00pm 2 Comments

Latest Activity

Josh Thompson liked Thomas Case's photo
2 hours ago
Josh Thompson posted photos
2 hours ago
Josh Thompson liked Thomas Case's photo
2 hours ago
Thomas Case commented on Jerry Jordan's photo

my new Lace CBG .. not ,.,,.

"The chop stick bridge is spot on!"
2 hours ago
Thomas Case liked Jerry Jordan's photo
2 hours ago
John commented on Dave Lynas's video

Tuesday’s Blues

"Super Dave!"
2 hours ago
Poorness Studios liked Thomas Case's photo
2 hours ago
Thomas Case posted photos
3 hours ago
John posted a video

Exodus 31 Blues - Three String Guitar Recordings - Red Dog USA

If you like old time blues music and cigar box guitars visit the website https://www.reddogguitars.com/ there is lots more videos and music
3 hours ago
John posted a photo

- 3 and 4 string guitars for sale -

----------------I am working on a new batch of cigar box guitars. Even if you build or sell cigar…
3 hours ago
Dave Lynas liked Clint Spotts's video
3 hours ago
Dave Lynas commented on Clint Spotts's video

Gotta Boogie

"Nice Clint! Beautiful combo. The killer Kay amp and a Swampie, fretted no less! Sounds great!…"
3 hours ago



© 2019   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

\uastyle>\ud/** Scrollup **/\ud.scrollup {\ud background: url("https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/963882636?profile=original") no-repeat scroll 0 0 transparent;\ud bottom: 25px;\ud display: inline !important;\ud height: 40px;\ud opacity: 0.3 !important;\ud position: fixed;\ud right: 30px;\ud text-indent: -9999px;\ud width: 40px;\ud z-index: 999;\ud}\ud.scrollup:hover {\ud opacity:0.99!important;\ud}\ud \uascript type="text/javascript">\ud x$(document).ready(function(){\ud x$(window).scroll(function(){\ud if (x$(this).scrollTop() > 100) {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeIn();\ud } else {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeOut();\ud }\ud });\ud x$('.scrollup').click(function(){\ud x$("html, body").animate({ scrollTop: 0 }, 600);\ud return false;\ud });\ud });\ud \ua!-- End Scroll Up -->